Share article:
Share article:

Scotland announces plans for new independence referendum

Credit: Pixabay

The terms and date for a second Scottish independence referendum will be set before the local elections in May.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised as much on Tuesday despite London’s refusal to organise such a vote.

“Any unilateral preparations for an independence referendum are largely symbolic because the UK government maintains that Westminster’s approval would be needed for such a vote,” the Financial Times pointed out.

Nevertheless, in a speech on Tuesday, Sturgeon insisted that “before the end of this Parliament, we will publish a draft bill, setting out the proposed terms and timing of an independence referendum, as well as the proposed question that people will be asked in that referendum.”

Related Articles


In a referendum on independence in 2014, 55% of Scots voted to stay within the UK. Sturgeon believes that Brexit has since changed the situation, with Scotland voting in 2016 against the exit from the European Union, which came into effect at the end of January.

Demands for an independent Scotland are also coming back strongly after the UK and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s much criticised handling of the coronavirus crisis, which has cost the lives of over 41,000 citizens, with 337,168 confirmed cases.

Alongside the criticism Johnson faces, there are “perceptions” that Sturgeon handled the crisis better than Johnson did, according to the Financial Times.

The challenges posed by the epidemic are being compounded “completely unnecessarily” by London’s refusal to extend post-Brexit transition period, which “will cause avoidable harm to many Scottish businesses,” according to Sturgeon, who called the refusal “an act of self-sabotage.”

While analysts predict that Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party will win a large majority in the 2021 regional parliamentary elections, the Prime Minister’s economic record could be an obstacle to the adoption of independence in the event of a new referendum.

According to figures published last week, Scotland spent a surplus of £15.1 billion (€17 billion) on what it collected in taxes over the last financial year, according to the SNP. The region’s deficit has also worsened by £2 billion (€2.2 billion) over the past 12 months.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...